London Riots, Ambush Marketing Hit Nixed Ghana-Nigeria Match

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MTN, a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, has got the Ghana Football Association a bit peeved.

The Black Stars of Ghana were due to take on the Green Eagles of Nigeria in London this week as the two sides begin preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Yesterday, however, the match was rescheduled due to security fears around the British riots.

Ghana News reports there was already trouble brewing ahead of Tuesday’s planned match — namely, allegations that MTN had advertisements planned “with images of key Black Stars players.”

The problem? The team’s telecommunications sponsor is Globacom’s Glo mobile brand, and such advertising would be seen as a case of ambush marketing.[more]

“This is a serious infringement on the marketing and advertising rights of the Official Communication sponsor of the Black Stars and so we call on the management of MTN to put a stop to it and to render an unqualified apology to the Ghana Football Association and GLO Ghana Limited,” the Ghana Football Association said in a statement, according to Ghana News.

The news organization also reports that the Football Association has “directed its lawyers to take all necessary steps to protect GLO Mobile Ghana and other sponsors of the Football Association from any future ambush marketing.”

Starfish Mobile Ghana, drawn into the alleged plan for ambush marketing, today responded to the Text N Go promotion with the following statement to BusinessGhana:

Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the GFA imputing rights infringement in the promotions leading to the now rescheduled Ghana- Nigeria match. 

We, Starfish Mobile Ghana, would like to clarify the situation as follows:

Starfish Ghana organized the Text and Go promotion after being given such commercial rights by the match organizers. Match organizers hold the rights to the commercial arrangements of a match. Starfish Mobile Ghana Limited is mobile marketing company which provides mobile value added services to clients. 

Starfish Ghana approached MTN to partner as a sponsor on the Text and Go promotion after duly obtaining approval from the gaming commission. MTN accepted the offer of partnership and facilitated the broadcast of messages to its subscribers amongst other obligations to Starfish.

MTN had nothing to do with the content of advertisement and others relating to this promotion except as a sponsor of the promotion.

It is our considered opinion, that Glo’s sponsorship of the black stars was not infringed by this promotion as Starfish Ghana had authorization from the licensed match organizers. This we believe could be likened to FIFA having MTN as its sponsors of the world cup although Glo was still the sponsor of the black stars.

Starfish Ghana is willing to dialogue with the GFA and other interested parties to resolve this and other contentious issues that have risen/may arise from such sponsorship syndication.

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